Spanish conquistador. He took part in the expeditions of Vasco Núñez de Balboa and others. He began exploring the northwest coast of South America in 1524, and, with the permission of the king of Spain, conquered Peru in 1531 with 180 followers. The Inca king Atahualpa was seized and murdered. In 1535 Pizarro founded the Peruvian city of Lima. Internal feuding led to his assassination.
Born in Spain, Pizarro travelled to the West Indies, where he met Balboa and served as his lieutenant on the expedition that crossed Panama and resulted in their sighting of the Pacific Ocean in 1513. While living in Panama, Pizarro heard of a wealthy Indian empire to the south, and he began to explore in search of gold and other riches. Atahualpa was strangled to death by the Spanish even though he gave them the large quantities of gold and silver they demanded for his release.
Pizarro's half-brother Gonzalo Pizarro (c. 1505–1548) explored the region east of Quito 1541–42. He made himself governor of Peru in 1544, but was defeated and executed.
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